The inevitable consequence of aging is that our losses multiply. Death is the loss many of us will think of first. Most of the people who defined our world in childhood will leave that world. Many of the friends we have accumulated along the way will be lost. Some losses, like divorce, may be as painful as a death, but unlike death, may seem have no finality.
Other losses will simply mark the passage of time. Our innocence may be lost early or late, but eventually, it will go. Body parts may seem to relocate to other areas of our bodies or be snatched entirely from us. Our memories may become as elusive as our car keys. The loss of our eyesight, our hearing, our teeth, our hair, may have us believing at times that we, ourselves, are disappearing in increments. Our sense of balance, given a temporary reprieve by sensible shoes, may eventually fail. Some of us may lose our minds, but we may blame that on parenthood.
The fact is, the longer we live, the more losses we will sustain. We can complain, we can grieve, we can mourn, we can avoid. We will sustain loss nonetheless. If we can take anything away from loss, it is that loss, like all of life, presents us with choices. We can go into permanent grieving or we can incorporate into ourselves the best of the people we have lost. We can be a presence for them in this world. We can allow the dissolution of relationships to derail us, or we can learn, and emerge stronger. We can make the shift from focusing on what we have lost to that of what we have to give to those around us. As long as we are here, and as long as our minds still function, we will have an impact on those around us. That impact is determined solely by us. And it can never be lost.
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